Migrant complaints of being deceived by NGO and Pueblos Sin Fronteras

Translated by Fulano from an article in http://jornadabc.mx/tijuana/09-12-2018/migrante-denuncia-enganos-de-ong-y-pueblos-sin-fronteras .

Tijuana, December 9, 2018 – For Juan, the expectations of earning pesos in Mexico turned out to be just as frustrating as earning Lempiras he received as salary in Honduras. In his anger, because almost everyone had a pact of silence, he gave some clues about the vicissitudes of the migratory phenomenon that we call the Migrant Caravan and which today is camping on calle 5 de Mayo in the Zona Norte of Tijuana, crosses into the USA and surrenders to the Border Patrol or is looking to survive in Tijuana.

He is among the group which resists going to El Barretal, the shelter set up on December 3 and controlled by the federal government. He explains his reasons for not trusting the authorities and the non-governmental organizations which convinced him to come to Tijuana. These are the same groups which today say his sole option is the El Barretal shelter.

“This is a prison here, the human rights groups and Pueblos Sin Fronteras brought us here with deception about what awaited us in Tijuana! We thank God that so many Mexicans have given us food, and support with mattresses, but Mexican Immigration has us held captive. They had to turn us loose due to all the pressure on them, but they had us detained back in Agua Prieta.”

He said the people staying on the calle 5 de Mayo were a part of a group of seven buses which was travelling behind the group which had an incident at kilometer 233, the Caborca – Sonoyta highway last November 16. A Sonora state police patrol “took us from Hermosillo to Agua Prieta. I really felt like I was in Honduras, because there they grabbed somebody, they did not let them make phone calls, there were women and children, and we were all very afraid. It was pressure from the human rights groups that made them turn us loose. In the end the Mexican Immigration was very nervous and they had to let us leave for Tijuana.”

“In Honduras, nobody summoned me to join the caravan. I heard on the radio it was best to come in a caravan and I moved up my planned trip, I was going to come anyway.” Juan told the same story as many here. Once they crossed the border into Mexico, non-governmental organizations encouraged them to head directly to Tijuana.

The conditions they had at the Benito Juárez Sports Unit, the failed hunger strike at El Chaparral, the massive attempt to enter the the United States by rushing the gates, like they did at the southern border with Mexico — using women and children who ended up getting tear-gassed by the Border Patrol — is partly the responsibility of those who guided them to Tijuana. For all that, he ended up “imprisoned” a repeated subject of his interview.

Juan does not even trust his own shadow, even though Alejandro Solalinde tells him his fear of deportation is “dumb.” He also does not want to go te El Barretal and have to mix with those who brought him here or an Immigration agent, and he approaches the line were the priest makes a list of those who want to get a job in Tijuana or some other part of Mexico.

Solalinde wants to mediate very carefully, he says nobody was forced to come to Tijuana, and now it is about finding a way out of the situation. He does not want to “get mixed up again” was the rest of the caravan a they have already “split off” from some of the organizations which participated in the caravan. Solalinde and the president of the State Commission on Human Rights, Melba Olvera, have been at the street camp since Saturday trying to convince them to leave the Zona Norte.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum said he does not know why the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) never allowed him to keep track of them. Now the National Immigration Institute has started a census of those who are in the shelter and will give them a credential that allows them to enter and leave.

During a coordination meeting this weekend, in which the three levels of government participated, it was reported that a report sent to them by the CBP for the period from November 13 to December 6, on the border that runs from San Ysidro to Yuma, Arizona, 2,109 Central Americans were arrested. Many of them crossed over to “surrender” to the authorities.

Of those 2,109; 929 are Hondurans; 902, Guatemalans and 277 Salvadorans. There were also 292 Indian citizens who were arrested along those 180 miles of the border with Mexico. In that same meeting, Mexican Immigration reported that 2,800 members of the Caravan have already applied for a visa and work permit in Mexico, which is in process, and 129 got documents and are working with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).

Around 2,000 have already been repatriated voluntarily or deported for having committed some crime, reported the Honduran ambassador in Mexico, Alden Rivera Montes. Prior to December 1, there were many arrests for infractions; from urinating in public to participating in a fights (always between them). The municipal police reported in the meeting this Saturday that no migrant caravan members committed a single crime that affects the local population, at least there is not a single complaint.